Like drugs, smoking or drinking highly palatable foods will trigger feel-good brain chemicals called dopamine. Once you feel the pleasure reward from eating certain foods you will quickly want to eat them again. Reward signals will override the signals of fullness after eating a meal and as a result you will eat continue to eat even when you are not hungry. If you have a food addiction you may also develop a tolerance to food or the foods you eat become less satisfying.
The medical community and nutritionists feel that food addictions may play a role in obesity. However, normal-weight people may also struggle with food addictions. Those who are in the normal weight ranges for their height people may be genetically programmed to handle the extra calories these same people may “up” their physical activity and exercise to compensate for their high eating habits.
Addictions to food can cause great weight gains and you may have the attitude of “I really don’t care.” Those who are addicted to drugs, gambling or food addictions cannot seem to stop their behavior; even if they know they should and those with food allergies are subject to the same attitudes. Look to these signs to determine if you have a food addition.
Eat more than you planned when you sat down to dinner;
Keep eating certain foods even though you are not hungry;
Eat to the point of being nauseous.
All these symptoms have negative consequences such as weight gain and damaged relationships. You may find that you are unable to do daily chores and activities and breathing difficulties may become symptoms. Do you eat because you are anxious or agitated perhaps you are eating to avoid spending time with your family or doing anything recreational? If you stay away from social activities where particular foods will be and you don”t want to over eat, these are signs pointing to an addiction to eating. As you over eat do you feel depressed or guilty and do you find that more food is needed to overcome negative feelings? If you find that you eat greater amounts of food and these amounts do not increase pleasurable feelings or you still feel negative you are probably addicted to food.
Food addicts have just as trying a time as alcohol or drug addicts and in some ways it is much worse to get over an eating disorder than it is to get over substance abuse. As a food addict you need to eat and cannot get away from your nemesis; whereas alcoholics or drug addicts can eventually stop using or drinking. There are programs that help those who are addicted to food and Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous is one such organization that is based on the 12-step program originally developed for alcoholics. Your doctor or nutritionist may put you on a strict diet that requires you to abstain from sugars, refined flours and wheat. These are the foods that cause food addictions.